The Edmond Sun

October 3, 2012

School board considers possible bond items

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Monday night Associate Superintendent of District Operations Bret Towne presented the Edmond Board of Education with a 7-Year Planning document for consideration. Parts of the document will be placed on the next bond election.

The Edmond Public School district is in the planning process for its next bond issue package, which will not be presented to voters until early 2013.

“This document is just for planning and guidance at this point,” Towne said. “This is just one of the documents which the board considers when formulating bond issues. Other artifacts would be school enrollments and capacities, facility observations, new housing developments and planned replacement of equipment. This document is very fluid, but the closer to the year of the vote, the more likely the items are to be placed on the bond issue.”

Among items being considered for an upcoming bond issue are additional play areas at the elementary schools and making elementary playgrounds ADA accessible, Towne said.

Other items being considered include the additions to, renovation of or remodeling of schools across the district including Cross Timbers, Orvis Risner, Centennial, Ida Freeman, Clegern, Northern Hills and Sunset elementary schools, Central and Cheyenne middle schools and all three high schools; resurfacing tracks, building a 17th elementary school, updating technology, replacing HVAC units, purchasing and updating transportation, upgrading the three high schools, renovation of the custodial building, increasing parking at the Edmond Public Schools Administration Center and purchasing property for a new high school.

Growth continues

“We are looking at the growth of Logan County at this time with new neighborhoods being built,” Towne said. “With more than 50 percent of the students attending Cross Timbers coming from Logan County, the largest impact of additional students will be to Cross Timbers.”

Licensing for technology accounts for more than $1 million of the budget each year, Towne said.

“An 80,000-square-foot elementary school No. 17 is planned in north Edmond between Cross Timbers and Centennial,” Towne said.

Bond funds from the 2011 bond issue are paying for elementary school No. 16 on Pennsylvania between Danforth and Covell.

Towne told board members renovation takes place across the district continually.

At the high schools, Towne said there are about 12 to 15 items at each school and funding would include renovation of restrooms, classrooms, science labs, flooring and lockers.

“We will be replacing flooring in the band area at Santa Fe to bring the quality up to that at North and Memorial,” Towne said. “We will also be expanding the freshman academy cafeteria.”

North students are still using the same science labs as when the school was originally built as a middle school, Towne added and at Memorial the science rooms are 20-30 years old.

The renovation of an old building for custodial purposes will make it possible to move all support services to the same location.

In addition the administration building will see new storage and parking.

Towne estimated the total of the above items to be close to $41.5 million.

Towne said at this time elementary school No. 17 is scheduled to open August of 2014 with the middle school opening August of 2015.

“The middle school cannot be built in 12 months,” Towne said. “It will take 15 to 18 months to complete it.”

“The new middle school would start with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, about three-quarters of the student population we would see eventually,” Towne said, “and would cost about $27 million.”

The projected cost of the new high school was estimated by Towne to be around $75 million.

“Yukon spent around $75 million on their newly completed high school, although it is not as large as what we will be building,” Towne said. “Our facility will need to be built for 2,500 to 3,000 students.”

Towne added the final decision of the items on the bond issue will be up to members of the board of education. He added that in order to meet the needs of the school district a funding source is required.

Bond vote will be in 2013

Because of recently passed laws by the State Legislature, the bond election that would have been in 2012 will be moved to 2013, said Chris Cochran, who represents Bank of Oklahoma as the district’s bond adviser.

“Timing is important,” Cochran added, “two dates to consider would be January or February of 2013.”

Cochran suggested the February date as it presses construction time as far as it can. He also suggested rather than a one-year bond election to place bonding needs for 2013 and 2014 in the same bond issue.

“Many other school districts do this, and the $20,000 to $25,000 in election costs spent each election could be used for educational purposes,” Cochran said.

Cochran, who has been working with the district for 10 years, said millage has been kept at 24 1/2 mills for the past five years because of the tax base and interest rates.

“We strive to keep millage rate steady between 24 and 25 mills,” Towne said.

At this time board members are considering holding the election for Edmond School District Seat 3, currently held by Jamie Underwood, school board president, until the bond election. Normally the election is in December.

“If this happens there could also be an additional savings,” Towne said.

“In the 130 square miles of the district, as much undeveloped as well as developed land exists,” said Superintendent David Goin. “With this next bond issue we are catching up. With continued growth we anticipate it (the addition of new schools) is going to continue. We have a good track record for budgeting well.”

The passage of the $12.2 million in General Obligation Building Bonds, left over from the bond issue passed in November 2011, is paying for Boulevard Academy renovation as well as construction at Angie Debo Elementary and additions at Washington Irving and Centennial elementary schools, and is scheduled to be completed by August of 2013.

Board creates architect selection committee

In other business during Monday night’s Edmond school board meeting, Goin recommended five individuals to serve on the Architect Selection Advisory Committee for elementary school No. 17.

Board members Jamie Underwood, George Cohlmia, Kemp Cole, Lee Ann Kuhlman and Kathleen Duncan voted 5-0 to accept the committee members.

Individuals recommended include:

• David Stapleton, director of architectural services, University of Central Oklahoma;

• Steven Manek, civil engineer and director of engineering for the City of Edmond;

• Roger Brown, assistant superintendent of administration, Norman Public Schools;

• Ruthie Riggs, principal, John Ross Elementary School, Edmond Public Schools; and

• Bret Towne, associate superintendent of operations.

“This is the second year we have had a committee to choose an architect for new construction,” Towne said. “This is an important committee and it is important to pick the very best architect we can for the new elementary school No. 17.” | 341-2121